Of any ingredient in perfumery the one I am becoming most knowledgeable about is lavender. That increase in understanding has come through a local lavender farm. I have become an itinerant pest to them full of questions. One day they asked me if I wanted to come back that night to watch them distill the oil. I think they needed an extra pair of hands, but I was good with that. As the lavender was extracted and distilled the little shed filled up with a scent I would describe as lavender jelly. It was a humid scent hanging in the close quarters of the room. I have encountered it again in Perris Monte Carlo Lavande Romaine.
I am not sure how Gian-Luca Perris was able to cajole “retired” perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena into making perfumes based around the flowers of Grasse. Last year the first two of the Les Parfums de Grasse collection were released, Jasmin de Pays and Rose de Mai. Both were based on the days M. Ellena spent as a child working on the harvest. The same concept informs the two newest, Mimosa Tanneron and Lavande Romaine. He is using a variation of the minimalistic style he is known so well for. In these perfumes the floral at the heart is given depth through two or three ingredients. In the case of Lavande Romaine it is just a couple.
Lavender of Provence has a pronounced herbal quality. It is the same variety that grows at my local farm. M. Ellena takes it and marries it to blackcurrant bud. This is an ingredient that is seemingly difficult to use as there are many perfumes where it becomes unpleasant at higher concentration. M. Ellena has apparently found a partner in lavender which tempers that. Almost immediately these two ingredients combine into that lavender jelly scent I remembered. What I mean by that is it has more substance than the typical floral lavender. There is an olfactory viscosity that comes through the blackcurrant bud. This isn’t the typical lavender scent profile. It is marvelously different. Some white musks provide lift and expansion over the latter stages but it holds at that thicker lavender stage for hours.
Lavande Romaine has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
This is a delightfully unique take on a well-known floral. By asking M. Ellena to access his memories of the lavender harvest of Grasse we are rewarded with another fantastic perfume.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.